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Microsoft Quietly Tests MSN ISP Service For Macs In 14 States

Microsoft Quietly Tests MSN ISP Service For Macs In 14 States

by , 1:15 PM EDT, May 1st, 2002

Microsoft has quietly rolled out ISP services from its MSN ISP to Macs for the first time. News.com is reporting that Microsoft is trying the service in 14 states that are serviced by Qwest Communications. According to the report, Mac support from MSN was a requirement for Qwest to move its own ISP customers from its own branded service to MSN. From the News.com report:

The Redmond, Wash., software giant has quietly introduced MSN Internet Access for the Mac to customers in the 14 states that get local phone service through Qwest Communications International. The service, which has been running for about two weeks, is part of a deal Microsoft struck with Qwest a year ago to transition Qwest's dial-up and broadband customers from the Qwest.net service to Microsoft's MSN service.

As part of the deal, Microsoft was required to offer service for Qwest's Mac customers. MSN product manager Lisa Gurry told CNET News.com that Mac customers make up a small fraction of Qwest.net's 500,000 subscribers.

The article goes on to discuss the fact that the service requires little more than a dialer-application, and that MSN is not offering its MSN-only content/services to its Mac users. Check out the full article for more information.

The Mac Observer Spin:

First of all, we would like to offer kudos to Qwest Communications for standing up for its Mac customers and negotiating service for them from Microsoft. If you have to make a deal with the devil, at least take care of you and yours in the process, which Qwest seems to have done.

Secondly, we would love to point out that a vice president of Qwest recently testified on Microsoft's behalf during the ongoing anti-trust trial. Qwest Vice President Gregg Sutherland was there to say that Microsoft was playing nice in the telecommunications business and Instant Messaging market. This comes from a ZDNet article:

Qwest Vice President Gregg Sutherland, testifying in the Microsoft antitrust case, disputed earlier testimony from a representative of SBC Communications that without the strict antitrust sanctions that nine states are proposing, Microsoft could crush SBC's planned Internet-based messaging service.

But under questioning from the states' lawyer, Sutherland acknowledged that he knew little about Microsoft's past anti-competitive conduct and had no experience with the kind of Web-based services at issue in the case.

Under questioning from states' attorney John Schmidtlein, however, Sutherland conceded he had no direct experience with Web-based messaging and was only part of a small group at Qwest that is studying the possibility of getting into the business of Web-based messaging.

He also admitted the group was formed less than a month ago--nearly two months after Microsoft named him as a witness in the antitrust case.

That's right, his own Instant Messaging group at Qwest was formed a month before the trial, and two months after Qwest agreed to have him testify. According to the time set forth by News.com, that would have been ten months after the two companies agreed to do this little MSN/Qwest.net deal. Were all these deals connected? Who knows, but it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...

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